Martin Luther King day has passed. The kids don’t have another day off until February . The snow has accumulated a few inches more. So it must be time for…planning summer vacation!!!One thing I’ve learned is that the time between late-January and mid-June goes by quickly, perhaps the fastest it does during the entire year. The kickoff comes well before Super Bowl Sunday, when one of our friends will email us and say, “Hey, thinking of doing a weekend at the: a) lake, b) beach, c) mountains, d) theme parks, e) other.  Can you join us?”In the past, I used to hesitate to commit so early in the year to summer plans. What happens if I get really busy with work ? When are the kids going to attend camp? What if….? However, I’ve come to realize that it’s important to put our family plans for fun and relaxation first. A different perspective on priorities has helped keep me saner. Why opt for the consulting life if I’m going to keep myself from taking time out?Anyhow, when I look at my track record, whenever the unexpected took over between June and August, everything else somehow fit in. No matter how stressed I let myself get, or how much I tried to control the outcome of our family fun (whatever it takes, darn it!) I’ve learned that if I don’t plan time off for myself, nobody else will. It’s a lesson well worth reminding myself when that first email enters into the inbox.A weekend at the lake? I’m opening up Outlook!